It’s hard to believe that it has been nearly a month since 75 educators descended upon The Ancona School in Chicago for the wildly successful Invent To Learn Institute. In order to maintain intellectual consistency, safety, variety, and personal choice, we embraced a “studio” model in which cohorts of participants chose two interest areas to pursue. Making mathematics, art, machines, and video games were the studio options, but they all shared progressive education traditions, learning-by-doing, the power of computing, and constructionist ideas descendent from Seymour Papert. Block-based programming environments, including Turtle Art, Turtlestitch, Snap!, and MakeCode were used to bring projects to life in a variety of media and across intellectual domains. By design, this approach ensured fluency development and overlapping curricular expectations to be achieved regardless of the two studios chosen by each participant.
It was particularly exciting to see the beautiful ways in which mathematics and code were turned into art and textiles, video games (real ones) that you can carry in your pocket on programmable “Gameboys,” and dramatic robotics projects using the Hummingbird Bit Kit and motion capture. I’ve led countless robotics and programming workshops across nearly four decades and educators in the recent Chicago institute did creative things that we had never seen before. That is not only a testament to our exquisite faculty, but to the emerging software and hardware tools we now have readily available.
Many thanks to the participants from across the US and Costa Rica, as well as our amazing faculty of Sylvia Martinez, Steve Dembo, Tracy Rudzitis, David Thornburg, Kate Tabor, and Yvonne Martinez. None of this would have been possible without the love and generosity of the Ancona School and its amazing educators.
Before too much time passes, here are resources, photo albums, and tweets to memorialize the recent institute. Hopefully, these materials will inspire continuous learning by those who were with us in Chicago or not.
Resources for each of the five August 2021 Invent To Learn Institute – Chicago Studios
Steve Dembo’s Making Video Games participant projects
Photos and project videos
Peruse Gary Stager’s photo and video album from the Chicago Invent To Learn Institute. Kate Tabor’s photo album is at the bottom of this page.
Photo Gallery by Kate Tabor
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.